THE SKINNY ON OBESITY
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The following information was taken from the work of Dr. Robert Lustig MD and a multi-part video produced by the University of California Television. This very important work explains the science behind the world wide obesity epidemic and other health challenges we are facing today. It is presented in an easy to understand format and can be viewed at
UCTV - Skinny on Obesity (trailer and more)
Here is a summary compiled from the information presented in the video. This might be among the most important information you need to know about the food you eat and how it influences your health.
In the past thirty years there has been an increase in obesity, including children, in numbers never before seen. Research tells us this goes beyond the calories consumed vs calories burned model that science has been using for years to explain why people gain weight. Our food environment has changed over the last 100 years, particularly more so in the last 30 years and we now have an industrial global diet that pervades all of humanity. This food environment shows up as an increase in eating fast foods, the placement of chemicals in the fertilizers and pesticides we put into the soil and the highly processed packaged foods we are eating, the additions of hormones and other additives into the feed we give to the animals we eat, our increased stress levels and the patterns of less sleep many people are experiencing because of the lifestyles they are choosing and less exercise being included in our daily routines.
All of these factors are contributing to and at cause of the increase in obesity and ill health we are seeing the world over. To make matters worse, we are exporting this way of eating the world over, as it is cheap, portable, has no depreciation and is designed to taste good and keep people craving the very foods that are at the crux of the problem. AND even more frightening these consequences, we are beginning to see, reach far into future generations.
It seems that back in the 70's there was an increase in eating more carbohydrates rather than fats in the average diet. Fats were seen as the culprits to weight gain and health problems. So fats were out and carbohydrates were in. These carbs especially came in the form of sugars and with the industrialization of food processing, highly processed foods which contained these sugars were being consumed more and more. Fat were given a bad rap however, as fat is not the problem leading to the increase in obesity and poor health, processed and refined carbohydrates ARE, especially in the form of sugar. In the advent of fast foods and low fat, high sugar products filling the grocery shelves, we started eating foods which contained fats and carbohydrates together in one food and this is where we ran into trouble. In nature there is no natural food that is both fat and carbohydrate, foods are either one or the other, except in the case of SUGAR.
Many people do not realize sugar is made up of two molecules, glucose and fructose. It is the fructose that's very sweet and it is the part we crave. Glucose is metabolized by all cells of the body, with only 20% being metabolized in the liver. Glucose is changed to glycogen which is stored for future need and use. Fructose however is only metabolized in the liver, which overloads the liver if it is not being used and it is then turned to fat in the mitochondria. When there is more glucose than can be used or stored it also goes to the mitochondria and turns to fat. This eventually causes an overload which clogs the mitochondria and its proper functioning and this stagnation leads to dysfunction and disease.
Fructose is an hepatic toxin and is more like alcohol than anything else and like alcohol it turns to fat and puts a big strain on the liver, which is a very important organ. When there is more of this fat then can be used, there is an increase of blood sugar causing our pancreas to work even harder to produce more insulin to metabolize these sugars and get them into the cells so they can be used as fuel. High insulin levels signal the body to turn sugar to fat, as the body begins to store this fat we have weight gain and over time the cells become insulin resistant. This means the cells can no longer take in and use the sugar so it is now circulating in our blood, causing damage to the cells of our body. This weight gain also drives blood pressure higher, leading to heart disease, increases cell division leading to cancer and causes cell changes in the brain leading to dementia. The pancreas eventually burns out and this leads to diabetes.
We are living in a toxic environment that is poisoning our mitochondria and making us sick. It can be attributed in a large degree to the sugar in our foods. Science has told us eat less and exercise more and you will lose weight. This is easier said then done. Why? It is because Leptin, a hormone that tells us we have had enough to eat so we can stop eating, is not working in people with excess body fat. Today we have endless access to an industrial global diet, with its high sugar and fat content dominating the grocery shelves. It is this processed food that is driving the production of insulin. Insulin blocks leptin at the brain and gives you the message that you are hungry, therefore the higher your insulin goes by eating these high sugar foods, the more energy you store as fat and the hungrier you get. This becomes a vicious cycle of consumption, weight gain and disease. We are essentially addicted to eating more than we are suppose to because our brain thinks we are starving.
Obesity, heart disease, lipid problems, hypertension and type 2 Diabetes, are all part of what is called the Metabolic Syndrome. Now it is realized that dementia, poly-cystic ovarian syndrome, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and cancer are also part of this syndrome. Obesity does not cause these diseases, it is the metabolic dysfunction that causes these diseases and leads to death in 60% of ALL people, not just Americans. The health care costs of these diseases represents 75% of health care expenses for ALL people. This is epidemic and has far reaching and world wide implications.
The other thing that is happening is dopamine (a pleasure center neurotransmitter) receptors are being down regulated, there becomes less of them as they are overstimulated by many of the chemical excito-toxins and sugars present in processed foods. In the brains of obese people the pleasure center lights up when it sees food and they want it, however once eaten there is a blunting of the center and less pleasure is received, thus there is an urge that can not satisfy the pleasure center, this creates the need to eat more in order to get the missing dopamine. This cycle occurs in anyone who uses narcotics, alcohol and nicotine as well as sugar. Sugar down regulates the receptors in the reward center of the brain. It is basically a drug. Thus you can see there is a biochemical factor behind this drive which makes it a behavior hard to stop by will alone. There is a chemical addiction at this point, an addiction that can be set in motion after just three weeks of eating high sugar, chemically laden processed foods.
What makes matters worse is that we can be set up even before birth to be obese, as our fat is laid down before we are even born and the diet of (mostly) our mothers helps to determine how much fat we will store. The younger the age a child becomes obese increases the likelihood of metabolic diseases at a younger age. Prevention is important, young women need to understand the importance of the diets they are choosing. Statistics show lifespans are now going down for the first time rather than up, this is related to our current food environment and the increase of the diseases related to it.
Stress is also related to the metabolic syndrome, as it shifts our behavior, stimulates overeating and leads to weight gain. Stress makes us hungry and makes us crave the denser calories of high salt, sweet and fat foods, which reward the brain. Our brain sees this as comfort food. Science is discovering that by reducing the stress hormone, cortisol, through mindfulness and awareness, we can shift the storage of fat from the abdomen without dieting. Our highly stressed lifestyles, paired with the fact that 80% of the food on our grocery shelves are laced with sugar and the statistic that we are eating 70% of our meals away from home, where we have less control over the ingredients contained in our food, set the likelihood of obesity in motion.
Awareness, incentives and the desire for foods that are untainted to become the norm are needed to make a change. Here are some of the things you can do to become proactive.
* Begin by making a choice to bring better foods into your home, get rid of sugar beverages, including fruit juices, snacks and all processed foods with overt and covert sugars and chemicals in them.
* Educate yourself about the ingredients contained in the products you are consuming.
* Drink more water, eat fresh fruits and vegetables, shop for whole foods rather then those that are processed and grown with pesticides.
click here for more info on foods that are more prone to have pesticides.
* Start eating smaller portions. By using a smaller plate, portions will appear larger than they are and you will not be able to have so much on your plate to begin with.
* Get out and move more, it has been shown that consistent and sustained exercise helps. It is a buffer against stress related weight gain and helps create a sense of well being. It burns calories so they are not stored as fat.
* Eat foods with higher fiber content, complex carbohydrates with at least 3 grams of fiber, not refined and processed carbohydrates. Fiber helps food move through the intestines more quickly.
*Wait 20 minutes after your first serving before reaching for another. It takes your hunger hormone, Ghrelin, 20 minutes before it triggers a signal to the brain telling it that you are full.
* Though it sounds counterproductive, increasing good fats in your diet rather than sugars will help you become a fat burner rather than a sugar burner and decrease fat storage. Include more Omega 3 fats,rather than 6's and 9's and stay away from ALL trans-fats. For more information please see the section on fats in these web pages.
click here for the VIBRANT HEALTH FATS SUBSECTION.
* Read labels and learn to recognize what is in the foods you are eating. If you can not pronounce it, or it was not an ingredient in the foods your grandmother ate 50 years ago, then it is likely a chemically derived ingredient that is going to act as an addictive trigger to get you coming back for more or a substance more related to keeping that food on the shelf indefinitely rather than one added to provide nourishment. Learn to recognize the many names and faces of sugar and substances such as MSG which can be hidden in your foods under other names.
click here for the NON-ESSENTIALS PAGE.
* Get involved and speak up, let the multinational companies putting these health robbing ingredients into the food chain know this is not acceptable. Support locally grown organic farmers with your food dollars. Sign petitions that support transparent labeling and the end to GMO's. Get your congressional representatives and community members involved and interested too.
Take action to create better health for yourself and your family. As you have learned, poor health not only effects your own health but also that of generations to come. What we eat and our children eat are helping to create and mold our future. Do we want a vibrant, vital and healthy future or one that is dull, slothful and unhealthy? It is your choice.
VITALITY: DIGESTION & ELIMINATION ESSENTIAL LINKS
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Do you ever wonder how many people would be able to function without the use of stimulants such as tobacco, alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, sugary foods, coffee, drugs- pharmaceutical, over the counter and recreational? In our mad paced society it seems more and more people are relying on such products to get through the day. Drugs and tranquilizers to unwind, caffeine and stimulants to get going, anti-acids so you can eat anything you want without regard to the negative consequences. There are drugs to cope or at least put a fog around yourself, so you can cushion reality. What we tell ourselves is, everyone does it, no problem! At least that is, until we really take a good look and realize we are not really feeling all that energetic, vibrant and alive. Or maybe, we are already showing signs of serious illness that stops us short and forces us to take a good look, whether we want to or not. The body may look perfect on the outside but illness is a process that starts from the inside and outward manifestations may not appear until it is already to late to do anything about it.
Our bodies are designed in a magical way to provide us with vibrant health, if we just pay attention to what is needed. Too many people are more concerned with the daily pressures of home, work and their social lives and do not take time to get the proper rest and food to keep the body, mind and spirit vital and abundantly healthy. Soon they are surprised to see the degeneration of their physical and emotional body and wonder how this could have happened. They find their spirit is crushed.
Getting back to basics is a good place to start a renewal. We have forgotten that though we must eat, drink and breathe air to live, the quality of what we are eating, drinking and breathing is of utmost importance. A healthy body can not remain as such when it eats and drinks artifical, lifeless foods contaminated with chemicals and breathes air filled with pollutants. We must be able to fully digest what we are eating so the body can more effectively assimilate what is needed. Elimination of waste must be complete or we will become toxic. It is this toxicity that creates a lack of energy and vitality and over time subsequent disease. Toxicity can affect our thoughts and behaviour, as science is discovering, through recently discovered biochemical messengers.
What information do we need to create the vibrant level of health we want and deserve? Let's look at the
processes of digestion, assimilation and elimination as a starting point. From this information we can see
just how important these ESSENTIALS are to achieving VIBRANT HEALTH.
THE PROCESS OF DIGESTION AND ELIMINATION
When we smell and see food the process of digestion actually begins. Our digestive juices are activated and salivary glands begin secreting. This is why it is so important for food to look and smell good to us. I have written an aromatherapy booklet that explains how our olfactory senses are in direct communication with our brain. You can read more about this by
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The first stages of digestion begin in the mouth where the enzymes in our saliva begin to convert carbohydrates (which are both starches and sugars) to sugar. All food must be liquefied before it can be assimilated. Starches are not water-soluble so they must be converted to sugars first. These starches are further digested when they enter the small intestines. Eventually they become liquid. Chewing or mastication of our food is an important part of the liquification process. By liquifying food the fiber is separated out. The pulverized and masticated food, called chyme, is propelled into the stomach via the esophagus. The glands there have already been secreting hydrochloric acid anticipating its arrival. This HCL acid further digests the food by acidifying the stomach. It also acts to kill any infectious material that may be present, (as this could injure the lining of the small intestines) and can kill ingested parasites that may have entered into the digestive system. Other enzymes will also be secreted here to break down proteins, fats and other sugars, such as milk sugars, called lactose. Maltose is one of the sugars that breaks down in the mouth along with the starches.
From the stomach, the pyloric valve controls the passage of food into the duodenun. Here the bile and pancreatic enzymes neutralize the chyme and work to continue breaking down fats, proteins and starches. From the duodenum into the small intestines, the small molecules of liquefied food can now pass through the small intestines in a process called osmosis. By this process they are transported to the liver by the hepatic vein. The liver reconverts them into nutrients and chemical constituents, which are circulated by the blood to the cells and tissues throughout the body. You can read more about liver health by clicking here.
Food that cannot be digested or assimilated in the small intestines flows into the large intestine via the ileo-cecal valve, which opens to release the residue of chyme. This is a one way valve which does not allow any liquids or solids to re-enter the small intestines. This first part of the large intestine is called the cecum and is a large pouch.
Only five percent of the original meal is passed into the large intestine where the electrolytes and water are extracted. How fast the residue moves from here will determine a lot about the level of health we attain. Colonies of bacteria feed on the waste here in the colon. It is important to note here that if food is not digested properly it will not be absorbed. Nourishment can not be obtained from unabsorbed food. These undigested particles act as irritants to the system or may putrefy or ferment causing gastric distress and disease.
Solid food can take 3 to 5 hours or more to liquefy and arrive at the end of the small intestines. From there it can take another hour or two depending on the condition and functioning of the large intestine to move out of the body. If waste matter is allowed to accumulate we become toxic. These toxins can enter the circulatory system and literally pollute the cells and tissues they come in contact with as the blood circulates. They also may accumulate as waste that becomes a coating on the intestinal wall, acting to obscure or block the open flow of the large intestines. This toxic waste acts as an irritant or allergen in the system, which the body must act to dilute or protect it self from. It is this toxicity that creates disease and deprives us of feeling vibrant and at the peak of aliveness. Our system is overworked and undernourished.
This scenario may manifest as feeling groggy, heavy, listless, extremely fatigued, having headaches, bad breath, diarrhea, constipation, flatulence (gas) or other allergy symptoms just to name a few. Over time this toxic condition results in deeper issues of ill health. The immune system is compromised and the system is overburdened. It is this poor intestinal health that is a primary contributor to most disease.
Now that we know how the food we are eating and drinking is digested, let's take a look at the compositon of the foods we eat. The enzymes, minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, fats and proteins that are our body's building blocks and source of energy. We can learn how to make the foods we eat support our health rather than destroy it. We are going to keep it basic and simple... yes, we could get real scientific but you know health is really a very simple and basic process. I feel we have made it too complicated and intellectual. There are really only the same tried and true basics that need be adhered to... basics which have been around from the time of primal man.
If you can use to support in creating digestive health there are products that are available and designed to help, these include:PRIMAL DEFENSE; Homeostatic Soil Organisms for intestinal
health, FUNGAL DEFENSE; A two week Candida elimination program, OMEGAZYME; Digestive Enzymes and ACID DEFENSE; A nutritional Alkalizer
You can click here to read about some of these amazing products.
CARBOHYDRATES: ENERGY IN ACTION
Food can be absorbed by the digestive system only after it is converted into liquid. Our body's are about 70% water by composition. About 7% of our body composition is carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are made up of starches and sugars. Starches are insoluble and must be converted to sugars so they can be water soluble. It requires energy and enzymes from the digestive system to convert starches to sugar, beginning with the chewing of the food.
Our body needs sugar to provide energy, however, it is the kind of sugar that we get that makes the difference. Chemically there are many types of sugar. Natural sugars are present in all fruits, raw vegetatables and whole grains. These are the types of sugars that are needed. Not the refined cane, beet, fructose and corn sugars that are manufactured products, produced by using intense heat and stripped of all live enzymes. These sugars are damaging to the system. "Manufactured" is the key word here. How do we think we can improve on nature? These processed sugars become liquid before they even leave the stomach and literally pour directly from the duodenum into the small intestines. Here, they are converted into alcohol and glucose and go directly to the liver. This glucose is then discharged into the blood, literally saturating it. If the glucose level is higher than the liver can tolerate, the excess glucose is stored as glycogen in the muscles and if not needed converted into fats.... and where do you think they end up? You got it... fat under your chin, on your hips, stomach and butt. Poor sugar metabolism is the cause of conditions such as diabetes and hypoglycemia, which we are not specifically addressing at this time. Suffice it to say, the proper modifications of diet and regular exercise can make a long lasting difference.
Whole grains begin as nutritious foods; it is when they have been over-processed and cooked at high heat they become useless and even dangerous. Cooking grains is not necessary in order to eat them. High temperatures kill the active enzymes. These active (exogenous) enzymes help us digest, so we do not need to use our own limited supply of internal (endogenous) enzymes. Grains can be soaked overnight in water that has not been allowed to come to a boil (about 125 degress farenheit, maximum). This softens the grain so it can be chewed more easily and the beneficial enzymes and sugars released. This becomes food the body can use.
Starches consist of grains, cereals and all processed flour products. Once the outer covering of the whole grain has been processed, to supposedly refine it, it has had the nutritive elements of vitamins (biotin, riboflavin and nicotinic acid to name a few) and the valuable enzymes removed. Fiber has also been removed in this process. Fiber is needed to propel and move food through the digestive system, absorbing toxins as they move along, much like a broom sweeping away the contents to be eliminated. Manufacturers claim to replace these removed elements with fortification, but how can we improve on what nature has already created for us in perfect harmony and balance? All processed, white flour breads, crackers, cookies, cakes etc. are dead food, essentially destructive to good health. If they have been fried, saturated in fat and heated at high temperatures then they are even more destructive. This includes all fried foods such as potato chips, donuts, and corn chips. It impossible for the starch that is now coated and saturated with fat to be digested and broken down into sugar. The high heat has made the fat unable to be emulsified, therefore it can not be broken down to liquid. It is a no-win situation and this results in food being undigested and subsequent fermentation and putrefaction in the colon: prime conditions for offensive bad breath, constipation, odorous gas and future disease.
If you desire some flour products then be sure to use whole grains (if possible freshly stone ground) or sprouted ones. Do not overindulge; a slice or two on occasion is not a problem. Eat some raw vegetables or non-acid fruit with it to provide needed enzymes for more complete digestion and benefit.
One of the most significant functions of enzymes is in the food assimilation processes of the body. Enzymes are the life principle in raw foods our fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, live elements that are in the cells of vegetation as well as the human body. They are the life force needed to catalyze the various chemical processes that go on endlessly and miraculously in our bodies each and every minute. These enzymes are sensitive to heat above 118 degrees farenheit and are virtually killed at 130 degrees farenheit. Cold and sub-freezing does not seem to bother them.
Fresh raw juices or concentrated, powdered green foods, which are digested in minutes and assimilated in a few minutes more, are much more efficient and easier on the digestive system than solid foods. It is not to say that we should only drink juices, after all we need the fiber of nuts, seeds, grains and sprouts. It is best to chew well, choose whole, fresh and unprocessed foods and when cooking, use low heat to maintain the living enzymes available. Following these guidelines will help to obtain optimal health and proper weight levels.
You can click here to read more about Super Seed, Fruits Of Life, Radical Fruits, Perfect Food and Omegazyme. Whole food products designed to help you to get nourishment, fiber, antioxidants and the enzymes you need for VIBRANT HEALTH.
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PROTEINS: BUILD, MAINTAIN AND REPAIR
Proteins are the building blocks of the body, composed of 23 amino acids, each with their own function and purpose. The breakdown of proteins during digestion generates heat which energizes and stimulates. Everyone needs protein. How much protein is needed will depend on your age, health, life style and how easily digested and assimilated the foods you are eating are. Children need more protein as they are growing and developing, as do those doing heavy physical labor. A person who is recovering from a disease which may have caused loss of body tissue will need more protein as well. Those who are sedentary need less.
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The body cannot absorb a complete protein. First, it must be broken down by the acid medium of the stomach. Here the enzyme pepsin does its work. Natural proteins and carbohydrates, such as, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds in their unprocessed state, have a relatively higher water content than the concentrated proteins of animal flesh foods and the concentrated carbohydrates of processed sugars, pastas and other flour products. It takes less exertion to digest and assimilate natural proteins and carbohydrates. Remember: all foods must be liquified before they can be utilized.
When concentrated proteins and carbohydrates are eaten together, neither can be completely digested, as one needs an acid medium and the other an alkaline medium. This leads to incomplete digestion and can result in fermentation and putrefaction, causing gas or flatulence through out the entire digestive system. This is the cause of toxicity in the system and eventual degeneration and disease.
Fake meat products made from legumes and grains also create digestive problems as these products trick the body into thinking that meat has been ingested and the digestive juices follow suit. An acid medium is created which does not allow for the complete digestion of these foods that require an alkaline environment.
Excess concentrated protein consumption generates a large amount of uric acid during the process of digestion which must be excreted by the kidneys. This is a burden on the kidneys and can lead to the depositing of gravel and stones in these organs if they are not entirely excreted. Uric acid may deposit in joints and muscles as crystals which are the cause of the pain of arthritis, rheumatism and gout.
Many people do not realize that fresh fruits and vegetables contain easily digested and assimilated proteins. These are called light proteins and are no burden to the digestive system as they are assimilated and digested easily. They add to your protein pool: when combined with other grains and legumes can provide all of the 8 essential amino acids considered to be complete proteins.
Garlic has the highest vegetable protein content along with carrot, celery, parsley and spinach juices. Brussel sprouts, cabbage, collards, dandelion, kohlrabi and turnips are also a good vegetable protein choice. This is one reason to include fresh vegetables and juices in your diet. If this is not possible to juice or you find it too inconvenient, then wonderful products such as the Perfect Food exist to fill this need.
You can read more about Perfect Food on my whole food products page or by
If you feel you want to have some flesh foods then fresh fish, with fins and scales, from unpolluted oceans, rivers or lakes would be the better choice. Steamed lightly these fish have all the trace minerals and elements needed for health.
Protein, though important, can also be detrimental to our health depending on the quantity consumed therefore always take into consideration your personal needs. Eat proteins separately from carbohydrates and choose light proteins which are more easily assimilated. Choose from organic and non polluted sources. Be sure to maintain proper enzyme levels to aid in digestion. These simple guidelines can keep the balance we need for vibrant health.
FATS: HIGH ENERGY, HIGH RISK
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Americans have increased their fat consumption over the last century by astounding levels. In 1999, soybean oil - a key ingredient in most processed foods - accounted for 20 percent of total calories consumed in the U.S.. This increased use represents about 25 pounds per capita currently, compared with only 0.02 pounds used per year in 1909. Take note that this figure is only indicative of soybean oil use, what about the increased use of canola and other oils? Either way, these figures are alarming since the quanitiy of fat we consume has been clearly linked to the quality of our health. A link has also been made between fat and high salt intake, as excess salt in our diets diminishes the body's ability to clear fat from the blood stream.
There has been a marked increase in the use of Omega-6 oils with the advent of seed extraction technology. Oils such as sunflower, safflower, peanut and corn are high in Omega-6 fatty acids and virtually devoid of the more beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids. Drastic changes in the American diet over the last 100 years show a 1,000-fold increase in consumption of Omega-6 fatty acids. The use of grains, which are high in Omega-6 fatty acids, to feed meat production livestock has also increased our Omega-6 fatty acid intake. All of this has serious implications for brain, heart and overall health. It is beneficial to have a 2:1 ratio of Omega-6 fatty acids to Omega-3 fatty acids, with a minimum of 3: or 4:1. I have read reports stating a ratio of more like 20:1 in the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) and in extreme up to 40:1. This flood of Omega-6s could actually be blocking Omega-3s from entering brain cells, since the two fats are so chemically similar.�Cells will also compensate when deprived of the vital Omega-3s by incorporating saturated fats into the cell membranes. This makes the cell structure stiff and ineffectual in its exchange with the rest of the body.
Realizing that the brain itself is nearly 60 percent fat, in 1984 it dawned on researcher Joseph R. Hibbeln, chief of the outpatient clinic at the Laboratory of Membrane Biochemistry and Biophysics at the National Institute of Alcoholism (NIAAA), that Omega-3 fatty acids could help remedy neurological disorders. Hibbeln states, "Since we have literally changed the composition of people's bodies and their brains, a very interesting question is brought up. What degree has dietary change had in changing overall behavior in our society?"
There are many profound neurological disorders that are known to be caused by lipid (fat) problems, according to Hibbeln. It is known, for instance, that multiple sclerosis damages the fatty myelin sheaths of nerve cells and that Gaucher's disease, another neurological disorder, is caused by buildup of damaging fatty substances in cells. Essential fatty acids, like Omega-3 and Omega-6, are a necessity to maintain good health and are key in healthy brain and eye development.
Through various studies, Hibbeln has set out to answer that question. Comparing worldwide rates of depression with rates of fish consumption (rich in Omega-3), Hibbeln found that nation's with the highest rates of fish consumption had the lowest rates of depression, and vice versa. The researcher uncovered similar patterns when looking at rates of homicide, suicide, postpartum depression. According to Hibbeln, rates of postpartum depression are 50 times higher in countries where women don't eat fish.
Other studies have shown that depressed people have lower levels of DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid, and that increasing Omega-3 consumption has helped conditions such as manic depression, postpartum depression, and even anti-social behavior in prisoners. It is easy to obtain the important EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) Omega-3 fatty acids from marine sources such as fatty, cold-water fish and seaweeds. Eggs are a good source of Omega-3 (DHA) too. The high Omega-3 fatty acid fish include salmon, tuna, bluefish, mackerel and herring. For instance, a 3 ounce serving of salmon yields 3 grams of combined EPAs. If you do not like fish you can take these important fatty acids in supplement form. Garden of Life offers a good tasting, high quality Cod Liver oil. You can read more about it at WHOLEFOODPRODUCTS
Another grouping of Omega-3 essential fatty acids is ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) found in certain plants, such as avocado, walnuts and flax seeds. This ALA can be converted into EPA and DHA, however, the process is slow and varies widely in each person, therefore, eggs, fish and fish oils still remain the best source of vital DHA and EPA.
So let's learn more about fats. What are they and how can we best utilize their health giving properties?
Fats are a combination of glycerin, water and one or more fatty acids. "Good" fats are essential to our health. Fatty acids are composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9 are all families of these fatty acids and contain high levels of different acids, such as, EPA, DHA, GLA, Linoleic and Arachidonic acids. This topic could be expounded on in length but we are keeping it simple here. In short, these fatty acids help to keep cholesterol low and stimulate the formation of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are in all cells of the body and influence reproduction, fertility, immunity and all manner of communication between cells. They also inhibit clot formation which is essential to keep clots from blocking narrow blood vessels in the body. Omega-6 fatty acids break down to arachidonic acid, which converts to a more inflammatory, type-2, prostaglandins. An increase of Omega-6 fatty acids creates more inflammatory chemicals and increases the potential for inflammatory and auto-immune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, chrohn's disease, lupus, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, and migraine headaches. Omega-3 fatty acids convert to prostaglandins 1 and 3, which counter-balance inflammatory effects and therefore improve health.
As an energy source fats are more efficient than proteins or carbohydrates, furnishing 125% more energy than either of them. Fats provide 9 calories per gram comsumed whereas proteins and carbohydrates provide only 4 calories per gram. Fats stay in the digestive tract longer than proteins and carbohydrates, creating a feeling of satiation or feeling full. Necessary for maintaining vitamin balance in the body, fats carry the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Fat is found in all body cells. Fats lubricate the intestines, preventing constipation, coat and protect the nerves and lubricate the joints, thereby keeping them flexible.
During the process of digestion fats are split into glycerin and the salts of the fatty acid from which they are made. The splitting of these fatty acids is a process known as emulsification. Bile and pancreatic enzymes provide the salts and alkaline elements needed for this process. Once emulsified they are transmitted to the liver where they are absorbed and reconverted into needed nutrients. Eating too many of the wrong type of fat can lead to an excess of fat stored in the liver, in the arteries, heart and all other organs and tissues. Heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and cancer of the breast, prostate and colon are all linked to high fat consumption.
Fats are particularly difficult to metabolize when they have been exposed to high heat either in processing or by cooking. Oils heated to temperatures of 350 degress F to 450 degrees F begin decomposing. Heated above 125 degrees F fats have lost much of their value. Always use cold-pressed oils as high heat processing destroys vitamin content and makes fats difficult to be emulsified.
Processes such as hydrogenation, whereby oils are made hard by adding hydrogen atoms, use excess heat. This heat destroys essential fatty acids and makes these oils (and the foods that are cooked in them) impossible to assimilate. Hydrogenation chemically changes unsaturated oils, making them saturated. These processes are used to increase the shelf life of these oils and the products they are used in. These oils are called trans-fatty acids. Avoid all lard, margarine and other fats that have been hydrogenated. They have NO nutritional value.
Besides hydrogenation, oils may go through many other processes. Solvents are used to extract a second pressing from the residue of the first pressed oils. Hexane, a petroleum product, is generally used for this process. The oil is then subjected to high heat (300 degrees F) to burn off the Hexane. This totally destroys valuable nutrients and leaves residues of this petroleum chemical present in the finished product. Other processes include de-gumming which destroys vitamin E and other nutrients.
Many times oils have colors, preservatives and other chemicals added to them. The plants themselves may have been grown with the use of pesticides and some oils, such as peanut, castor oil, canola and cottonseed have naturally occurring toxic substances. Peanuts often are contaiminated by a mold called aflatoxin which can cause liver damage.
All high heat, solvent processed, refined, bleached, deodorized and tainted oils prevent the body from using fat-soluble vitamins. Always use cold pressed, unrefined oils, that have had minimal processing. It is important to check the freshness of your oils. Rancid oils can produce free radicals which are damaging to the body. Unrefined, organic, virgin olive and coconut oils have a longer shelf life than most other oils. It is a good idea to keep oils refrigerated after opening. Before opening them, store in a cool, dark place. Look for oil which is bottled in glass rather than plastic, as plastic tends to let air in which can lead to the oxidation of it's contents.
Only raw unprocessed fats and cold pressed, unrefined oils can be emulsified. These oils are rich in fatty acids.They can be completely burned as fuel. Failure to cleanly burn this fuel will lead to the accumulation of fat through out the body. It can also create disturbances in the digestion and assimilation of proteins and carbohydrates which will result in further adipose (fat) deposits in the body. Fat deposits no matter where they are in the body interfere with optimal levels of functioning.
High levels of saturated fats can elevate serum cholesterol and lead to heart disease, liver disease, cancer and many other health problems. Saturated fats impair the livers ability to remove low density lipoproteins from the blood which leads to clogged arteries.
Lipoproteins are protein-covered bundles that are water soluble. They are synthesized in the liver and intestinal tract. They are responsible for transporting cholesterol throughout the circulating blood. HDL (high density lipo proteins) are considered "good" cholesterols because they remove excesses of cholesterol from the arteries preventing the buildup and narrowing of their walls. They deliver this excess cholesterol to the liver where it is excreted as bile. LDL (Low density lipo proteins) are called "bad" cholesterol because they leave behind the excess on the arterial walls and in the body tissue. This clogs the system and leads to degeneration and dis-ease. It must be said here that there are cultures that consume high levels of saturated fats without experiencing heart disease and cancer. These cultures are also not eating the "unhealthy" foods our technologically advanced culture includes in their every day diet.
All animal fats are mostly saturated, as well as oils of coconut and palm kernel. Vegetable, nut and seed fats are more likely to be unsaturated. The more saturated the fat the higher the cholesterol levels. Though we need cholesterol, too much leads to the degeneration of the blood vessels and other organs. I would like to mention here that high levels of cholesterol may be indicators of the body's attempt to protect the arterial walls from inflammation or some other unhealthy condition. Higher levels do not necessarily cause heart disease. Many people with low blood cholesterol can have atherosclerosis. It is more likely that "trans-fats" are the culprit and an unbalanced Omega-6 to Omega-3 essential fatty acid consumption.
Let's look more closely at the 3 types of fats: polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and saturated.
Polyunsaturated fats are liquid. They are the chief source of essential fatty acids. Fish oils are the best source of polyunsaturated fats. Deep cold water fish have the highest content of these Omega-3 fatty acids and provide us with DHA and EPA. They have many beneficial attributes, such as lowering cholesterol, acting to reduce joint inflammation, reducing the chance of blood clot formation and increasing heart health.
Other polyunsaturated fats include safflower oil, wheat germ oil, pine nuts, primrose oil, cod liver oil, corn oil, hemp oil, borage oil, sesame oil, walnut oil, flax oil, pecans, soy oil, sunflower seeds and cottonseed oil. Cottonseed is often high in pesticide levels due to the practices used in growing it and also contains other toxic substances. It is not really a good choice of oils, yet it is in many food products on the supermarket shelves, especially fried food snacks, including potato chips, corn chips and baked goods.
Monosaturated fats, containing Omega-9 fatty acids, lower "bad" low density lipo proteins in the blood without lowering good high density lipo proteins levels in the blood. These fats do not raise cholesterol levels. In fact, these oils seem to reduce cholesterol even when a low fat diet is not being followed. Monosaturated fats include olive oil, avocado, pecans, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts and canola oil. There are many reports alerting us to the detrimental effects of the GMO-derived and heavily pesticided canola oil, which I will not go into in this report. You can read more about canola oil by reading this page on my website: NONESSENTIALS
Suffice it to say, I do not recommend canola oil and alert my clients to read labels carefully. Canola oil is often put into many so-called "health foods".
Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and include coconut, palm kernel and palm oils, butter, lard and all animal products. If you choose flesh foods, chicken is lower in saturated fats than beef or pork. Linked to many health problems, saturated fats would be best reduced in the diet. Coconut oil, made with a traditional fermentation process, actually has many health giving properties. If you use this oil, choose one that is organic and virgin in nature. You can read more about coconut oil by reading this page on my website: WHOLEFOODPRODUCTS
We can see that fats are vital to our health.
Here's a brief set of guidelines we can take from all this information. Use them to help achieve the vibrant health you want and deserve.
Reduce the amounts of saturated fats we consume.
Increase to a moderate level our unsaturated fats.
Balance our Omega-6 to Omega-3 fattyacid ratio.
Read labels to avoid hydrogenated and chemically treated oils.
Store oils properly.
Avoid over-heating of oils during cooking.
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Enzymes are energized protein molecules found in all animal and vegetable living cells. They catalyze and regulate most biochemical processes within the human body. There are over 3000 different enzymes in the body, each with its own specific job. Science figured out a way to block enzymes that were contributing to various disease processes such as inflammation, high cholesterol and blocked arteries. The pharmaceutical industry has been working to develope more and more of these enzyme blocking drugs. However, there is another way to treat or prevent disease, by increasing beneficial enzymes. This creates balance, instead of blocking imbalanced enzyme systems.
There are metabolic, digestive and food enzymes. They help to improve blood and immune functioning and are needed by vitamins and minerals to accomplish their delivery within the body. Enzymes can prevent partially digested proteins from putrefying, carbohydrates from fermenting and fats from turning rancid within the digestive system. Our bodies produce metabolic and digestive enzymes as they are needed. This number is limited and is called our enzyme potential. We seem to make less enzymes as we age. To preserve this potential we need to reduce the amount of energy we spend on digesting our food. We can do this by consuming more of a raw food diet, (which contains its own enzymes to help us digest), by decreasing the amount of calories we eat at one time and by taking a high quality digestive supplement with our meals.
The choice is ours. In doing any of these things the stress of digestion will be reduced. We will have more energy and metabolic enzymes available for other body systems. These include the immune, nervous, endocrine and circulatory systems. Metabolic enzymes are called the "spark of life." All biochemical reactions taking place in the body are made possible by the reactions of metabolic enzymes. They either speed up or slow down the chemical reactions within the cells for detoxification or energy production. Every organ, tissue and cell depends on them. All living cells produce these enzymes through the pancreas, liver and gallbaldder.
Digestive enzymes are secreted in the digestive tract to digest food, breaking it down into nutrients to be absorbed into the blood stream and waste that will be discarded. Most of these type of enzymes are produced by the liver, gall bladder, small intestines, stomach and colon. In humans, these enzymes consist of ptyalin, pepsin, trypsin, sucrase, maltase, lactase, lipase, protease and amylase. Cellulase, though needed for fiber digestion, is not made by the body. This enzyme is introduced through the raw food we eat or through supplementation. Digestive enzyme deficiencies can present as many different symptoms. I will speak about a few of the more prominent deficiency patterns.
Protease digests protein. Protease deficiency can be the foundation for conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis and other calcium-deficient diseases. This occurs because protein is needed to carry protein-bound calcium in the blood. Protein can also convert to glucose (sugar) when needed. If inadequate protein digestion takes place this can lead to hypoglycemia, subsequent moodiness and irritability.
Protease also digests unwanted debris in the blood including certain viruses and bacteria. You may show signs of immune deficiency with protease deficits. Some other protease deficiency symptoms include back weakness, fungal forms, constipation, high blood pressure, hearing problems, parasites, gingivitis and gum disorders.
Amylase ingests carbohydrates and dead white blood cells (pus). When low in amylase you may get abcesses, skin problems associated with the release of histamines (rashes, psoriasis, eczema, hives, herpes and dermatitis) and allergic reactions to bee and bug stings. Asthma and emphysema may also be aggravated by amylase deficiency, along with PMS, hot flashes, fatigue, cold hands and feet, as well as neck and shoulder aches.
Lipase digests fats and fat soluble vitamins and balances fatty acids. If lipase deficient, you may experience high cholesterol, high tryglycerides, difficulty losing weight and diabetes. This can lead to heart disease. Because lipase deficiency makes cells less permeable, nutrients have a harder time getting in and waste products getting out from the cells. Conditions such as vertigo and Meniere's Disease cause dizziness and are a result of lipase deficiency. Other symptoms can include aching feet, arthritis, bladder problems, cystitis, acne, gallstones, hay fever, prostate problems, urinary weakness, constipation and diarrhea. Do not use fat blockers such as Olestra and Elestra to keep fat from being absorbed. They keep fatty nutrients from being absorbed and this can lead to deficiency and mal-nutrition.
Cellulase breaks down fiber. We do not produce this enzyme so we must eat it every day. It creates malabsorption when it is deficient. This can result in symptoms including abdominal gas, pain, bloating and problems of the small intestines and pancreas.
Sucrase, Lactase and Maltase deficiency can lead to an intolerance of certain sugars and/or gluten. Sucrase breaks sucrose into two units of glucose. Since glucose is the main brain food, when sucrose is unable to be digested, symptoms of mental and emotional disease may appear. Such symptoms may include depression, manic and schizophrenic behavior, panic attacks, moodiness and severe mood swings.
Lactase deficiencies can result in abdominal cramping and diarrhea. Also, allergic reactions, including asthma, have been noted. Those with maltase intolerance are generally sensitive to environmental conditions. Gluten, which is part of wheat, oats, rye and barley, may play a part in malabsorption and sugar intolerance syndromes. You may be intolerant to one or all of these grains. Intolerance is associated with Celiac and Crohn's Disease, as well as Malabsorption Syndrome. Gluten intolerance can also create a sugar intolerance as it damages cells in the small intestines which makes them unable to secrete sucrase, lactase and maltase.
As we have stated, food enzymes come to us through the raw food we eat (an endogenous source) or from supplementation. Raw food only seems to have enough enzymes to digest the particular food it comes from and cannot provide us with any excess, which can be stored for later use. The exceptions to this fact are papaya, providing papain and pineapple, providing bromelain. Foods heated over 118-125 degrees, processed, or irradiated are depleted of their enzyme action. If we do not have a hereditary high enzyme potential we will need to supplement in order to get the enzymes we require for digestion and the ability to create more metabolic enzymes. When we use our enzyme potential for metabolic enzyme production, we are creating the substances that create vitality and the spark of life.
Supplemental enzymes that may be available to us can come from plants (Bromelain and Papain), glandular/animal (Pancreatin. Trypsin, Pepsin, Ox Bile and Chymotrypsin) and plant-based enzymes, grown on aspergillus fungi (Protease, Lipase, Amylase, Cellulase, Invertase, Maltase, Lactase, Sucrase). I will speak more of each of these types. The Plant-based type is soothing, helps with inflammation and has minimal digestive abilities. The Glandular/Animal type helps inflammation, provides glandular support and has minimal digestive abilities. The Plant-based type has the highest digestive units, is a Vegan/Vegetarian product and preserves metabolic enzymes.
The plant enzyme bromelain is a proteolytic and milk clotting enzyme. It is derived from pineapple stems. It helps to reduce swelling and breaks up some of the antigen-antibody complexes involved in auto-immune diseases. To a lesser degree it changes receptor on the cells, decreasing cellular activity, responsible for inflammation. It is popular as an anti-inflammatory agent. Inflammation increases body heat and Bromelain is activated at higher than normal body temperatures. It helps to repair. It is also used to tenderize meat and in the chill-proofing of beer. Bromelain will be inactivated in an acid pH, so it must be specially coated (enteric) to prevent breakdown in the stomach. In this way it can reach the small intestines where it will be broken down and activated.
The plant enzyme papain comes from the latex-like, sticky substance in the unripe papaya fruit. It is the strongest in breaking up the antigen-antibody complexes involved in autoimmune reactions. It requires higher than normal body temperatures to become active and needs a pH environment of 6.0 to 8.0. It must have a special coating to prevent breakdown in the stomach. It is also a good anti-inflammatory and is helpful in repairing damage in the body.
Glandular/Animal enzymes from the pancreas of ox and pigs include Chymotrypsin and pancreatin,� the proteolytic amylase and lipase-containing enzyme. Chymotrypsin requires a pH of 8.0 to become active. Pepsin is a proteolytic enzyme from the stomach of pigs. It is the principle digestive component of our gastric juice. It is activated only when the body temperature is above normal. Another proteolytic enzyme is Trypsin, which is formed in the small intestines or pancreas of an animal. It only works in a pH of 8.0 and breaks down lysine and arginine (amino acids). Commercial supplementation, commonly used to fortify the pancreas and small intestines, uses a coated Trypsin. When coated it is able to reach the small intestines where the pH is alkaline. These anti-inflammatory agents work to break down small clots of fibrin, break up antigen-antibody complexes and alter receptors on cells involved with inflammation.
Plant-based enzymes grown from aspergillus fungus in a laboratory are a non-pathogenic pharmaceutical species. These contain the highest active units of enzymatic capability and break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates in a broad pH range. These plant-based enzymes are helpful for developing and maintaining a proper digestive system. Once the body has reduced the need to produce digestive enzymes, it can produce more metabolic enzymes. Plant-based enzymes are 10 - 100 times more active than other choices and make up 80% of the enzyme supplements sold in the stores today. The other 20% is made up of Plant and Animal/Glandular supplements. Be sure to watch out for fillers in any product you may choose and be sure your products are using FCC standard codes to measure their enzyme potency so you may compare their strength with other brands.
To read more about enzyme supplementation go to my web pages and read about Omegazyme: WHOLEFOODPRODUCTS
Many common so-called diseases and their symptoms are a result of enzyme deficiencies. It is best to include a supplemental digestive enzyme in your health program so you may help to keep your enzyme potential at its peak, especially as this potential declines with age. I have read studies stating the body produces about 13% less digestive juices per decade of life. As we can see, staying healthy and vibrant seems to have a relationship to the quality and amount of enzymes we have available.